Steve Hackett Exploring The Night Siren on his latest Album

Steve Hackett Exploring The Night Siren on his latest Album

 

Steve Hackett Exploring The Night Siren on his latest Album

Steve Hackett Exploring The Night Siren on his latest Album, his twenty-fifth as a solo artist a silver landmark of a distinguished career. Sit back, and be taken on an extravaganza of musical experiences. The Night Siren has its own tuneful call, melding together modern rock instruments with sounds from the dawn of time as Persian Oud meets Andean Quena via the strings of the viola and bass clarinet. Incorporating tradition with contemporary sounds works as The Night Siren weaves musical tonal textures under the guidance and artistry of Steve Hackett. With the complexities of string, woodwind and percussive instrumentation building a landscape where there is no simple journey of going in a straight line to your destination. The music flows, creating eddies, swells and detours, taking your ear to places that are delightful as Progressive Rock fills the room with layers of interest. Never self-indulgent always with a purpose exploring peace, how light will stop the plunge into darkness and self-destruction.

Hackett has gathered around him a group of artists who develop the scope of the instrument that shapes the music without constraints. The album has a global vision, reflected as we travel from the cold to heat. Steve Hackett travelled around the planet working with Icelandic drummer Gunnlaugur Briem, Azerbaijan tar player Malik Mansurov, Israeli vocalist Kobi Farhi and Arabic singer Mira Awad, who represented Israel in the, Eurovision song contest.

Opening the epic musical journey we join the legendary prog-rock guitarist and vocalist as the veil is lifted and we see Behind The Smoke. Behind the smoke on this socio-political song exploring displaced refugees and leader’s own self-interest of protecting borders. This is an album of music without borders, inventive and without self-constraint. This is music that is both considered, intriguing and above all else exciting. My first experience of the stringed Persian instrument Tar; the mystical sound pulls in the guitar and the sultry Eastern vocals from Amanda. The instrumental breaks have a sense of purpose and inherent rhythm that says more than the words. The didgeridoo under Sara’s guidance is joined by her father, Ferenec Kovacs trumpet as we travel to Fifty Miles from the North Pole. The opening is quiet, the sound is cool creating a soundscape of a journey across a landscape cold, ‘’it can freeze your soul”

The dramatic opening of El Niño with drums and strings describes the power of this force of nature as the orchestra of sounds creates the soundscapes of nature’s fury. All the tracks are mesmerising, as we step to the Other Side of the Wall we enter a dream zone shaping a different hegemony one of peace, solution and tranquility refuting the way the world seems to be a head full of xenophobia, hatred and intolerance. The music is cathartic a window of hope and renewal.

Rock, rises above on Inca Terra and In Another Life. Civilizations from the past connect the two melodies and cascade through the middle of the album, revitalizing and shining light on mysteries. Instruments from previous times help in the linking of the world of the past and now as quena and Uilleann pipes are used to great effect in shaping the melodic mood.

As the album draws to its worldly conclusion West To East fate is explored as we are lead to ask why the birds have left the sky. It is a message that we need to look into the East not expect the traffic of understanding has to flow East to West. We need to find what we have in common and then Peace can be found. There is hope and this is the track that lightens the night siren with a message of renewal. Closing with The Gift the shortest track, we are under the spell of Steve Hackett’s guitar playing and the lusciousness of the strings picking up the melody. The instrumental pulls the themes together once more re-affirming the talent of Steve Hackett.

The Night Siren, is more than a collection of eleven tracks. The Night Siren a celebration of the depth of cultures throughout the world. The wealth of music, the wealth of tones, the wealth of what is good in humanity. The Night Siren is a call to action for a different world. Open, giving and tolerant. The Night Siren is composition that will on every listen enthrall and entrance. Prog-rock does not get better than this. Albums do not get better than this. The Night Siren is masterful and the best yet from the talented musical mind of Steve Hackett.

Steve Hackett – The Night Siren – Inside Out Music

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Behind the Smoke
  2. Martian Sea
  3. Fifty Miles From North Pole
  4. El Niño
  5. Other Side of the Wall
  6. Anything but Love
  7. Inca Terra
  8. In Another Life
  9. In the Skeleton Gallery
  10. West to East
  11. The Gift

 

Steve Hackett Exploring The Night Siren on his latest Album
Steve Hackett, Dec 2016. Photo by Tina Korhonen © 2016, all rights reserved.

 

The Night Siren  Lineup

Steve Hackett: electric & acoustic guitars, oud, charango, sitar guitar, harmonica, vocals (1-11)
Roger King: keyboards & programming (1-10)
Amanda Lehmann: vocals (1.2.3.6.7.9.10)
Christine Townsend: violin, viola (3,4,5,7,9,10)
Rob Townsend: baritone & soprano sax, flute, flageolet, quena, bass clarinet (1,4,7,9)
Gary O’Toole: drums (3,4,10)
Nick D’Virgilio: drums (2)
Guili Briem: drums, cajon, percussion (7,9)
Mira Awad: vocals (10)
Leslie-Miriam Bennett – keyboards (11)
Dick Driver: double bass (3,4,5,7)
Nad Sylvan: vocals (7)
Kobi Farhi: vocals (10)
Benedict Fenner: keyboards and programming (11)
Jo Hackett: vocals (10)
John Hackett: flute (2,10)
Ferenc Kovács: trumpet (3)
Sara Kovács: didgeridoo (3)
Malik Mansurov: tar (1)

 

Steve Hackett Exploring The Night Siren on his latest Album

Blues Engine are on the Right Blues Tracks

Blues Engine are on the Right Blues Tracks

Blues Engine are on the Right Blues Tracks

 

 

Second albums are always a difficult journey to take. Following on From Quick & Dirty; Blues Engine  are on the right Blues Tracks with number two. Tracks definitely consolidates this London-based band Blues credential

Opening with a measured soulfully melodic Drop Dead Ugly, the reverse of what the title may have suggested, definitely gentle rather than dirty blues.  As you step on board the eleven musical detours the Blues Engine are taking us on Tracks. The vocals of Katya Chernyakova are full of luscious textures that are reflected back by the considered guitar work of Alex Cooray. The juxta positioning of crisp and soft, sweet and sour are a signature of Blues Engine giving the blues a contemporary edge whilst still full of tradition. The ten originals and a single cover keeps you entertained and engaged as the Tracks widen out with Gunnysack John, harder edge faster tempo and juicy harp from guest Nick Payne. It is the rhythm section that keeps this ditty on the right track curling towards its destination with beat that is sustained and clear the combination of new drummer Hamish Burchell & bassist Alexander K Liutai. The tracks meander with a gentle flow of the blues picking up a Latino vibe on Lonely By Your Side full of warmth, the quartet are having fun exploring the tempos that mix up the blues. Opening with deep rumbling bass Boatman’s Blues takes us down the river with Alex on guitar raising the tone and Katya hitting the mid-range this is a sad song full of blues wistfulness.

Closing out with their version of Jimmy Cox’s Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out; leaving you with blues chiming as the sound fades. Having reached the end one track resonates as the star it is a Peter Green infused, British Blues number Tell Me A Riddle. Slow, thoughtful, melodies that suit the tonal range of Blues Engine.

What stops this album being outstanding is difficult to pinpoint. Every track is true to the sound Blues Engine creates. It is an album you would return to and smile and joy the sharp blues of Tracks that glint like well-cut Sapphire, reflecting out and beyond the scope of electric blues.  Missing, it is a cutting edge, the dirty tones of blues and stories that really shout for attention. That said Tracks certainly never goes off the rails under the hands of Blues Engine.

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Drop Dead Ugly
  2. Mamma Don’t Know
  3. Gunnysack John
  4. Tell Me A Riddle
  5. Lonely By Your Side
  6. House On The Hill
  7. Boatman’s Blues
  8. I Ain’t Sorry (And I’d Do It Again)
  9. Spellbound
  10. Keep Lovin’ (‘Til The Love Runs Out)
  11. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out

Blues Engine are on the Right Blues Tracks

 

 

 

 

Nothing Poor Boy Blues About The StoneCoats

Nothing Poor Boy Blues About The StoneCoats

Nothing Poor Boy Blues About The StoneCoats

 

The StoneCoats, young blues-rock band infused with the growing popularity of country/southern rock vibe from Brandon Mississippi debut album is definitely one to explore.  The opening track Another Thought For Today, left me with only one thought I want to hear more. The quartet is vocalist who plays guitar Brandon Barnett, Guitarist Carson Bristow, bassist Ashten Frisella and Leighton Bristow combining a rhythm double as bassist and drummer.

The tempo changes with a chugging boogie that hits that tonal zone where music has a driving excitement. The influences from the past sit gentle, yes we can compare to The Doors, Allman Brothers even Grateful Dead. The reality is The StoneCoats are in the process of developing their own sound that is contemporary colliding with the music that has flown up and down Route 61. The title track fails to hit the mark as the standout track, with its gentle swaying melodic lines lacking grit and determination that the title promised. The big keyboard chord and southern guitar leads into Find You, finding the StoneCoats is a pleasure as the debut promises to be the stepping stone for the band to grow. The country vibe takes over for Cheated Heart and we are left with the blues as the album closes with When You Are Down.  If there is one track that epitomizes the sound of The StoneCoats it is Cross That Bridge; with vocals that hit the mark and the guitar licks stay with you, a memorable track on a debut album initiating the listener’s memories of The StoneCoats notable musicianship.

Nothing Poor Boy Blues About The StoneCoats; as they blend the tones of today mixing up a recipe of musical success a pinch of Southern Rock, a soupçon of country mixed together with a shot of Blues we have a recipe for music that will be tasty.

The StoneCoats – Poor Boy Blues  – Nub Country Records

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Another Thought for Today
  2. Blues Boogie
  3. Cross That Bridge
  4. Poor Boy Blues
  5. Roll Over It
  6. Find You
  7. Can’t Live Without
  8. Cheated Heart
  9. Fade Away
  10. When You’re Down

Nothing Poor Boy Blues About The StoneCoats